Wednesday, July 31, 2013


What is it you need to trust God for?

Answer:  Pretty much everything.

How many of the areas below have you trusted God for?

- Trust with a career step.

- Trust with your marriage.

- Trust to help you learn to love again.

- Trust to learn a skill to accomplish your dream.

- Trust with your business.

- Trust with a big decision.

- Trust with your children.

- Trust with your future.

- Trust with overcoming a difficulty or challenge.

- Trust for provision.

- Trust with a health situation.

- Trust for guidance or direction.

God won't let you down.

And be blessed.

Monday, July 29, 2013


As soon as we find the real Jesus we'll find that He says to us: 'I'm not your personal Savior.'

Before you freak out on me with that statement, let me explain.  Did Jesus forgive you personally?  Did He save you personally?  It isn't a trick question.  Of course He did.

But you don't own Him.  He doesn't belong to you.  That's backward.  You belong to Him.  You're a slave of His.  The New Testament says it over and over.  You're a slave.

'He doesn't belong to you ... you belong to Him.'

That means whoever Jesus loves, you love.  Whoever Jesus serves, you serve.  We don't tell Him, He tells us.  Because He says, "I'm not passing out Sunday school pens or Journey Church t-shirts this weekend.  I'm passing out crosses for people to sacrifice their lives on and then sacrificially reach out to people who need My love."

Who wants one?

And be blessed.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


When you come to faith, you're going to find out very soon (especially if you hang around Journey Church very long) that this life isn't about you.  

People get offended sometimes when we say that, but it's just the core of the Gospel.  It's about others.

Jesus was our model for this.  He said: 'I didn't come to be served, but to serve.'  How can we think for one moment then that any of this is about us after Jesus said a thing like that?

What was Jesus' mission?  To seek and save others.  This life isn't about you.  We say it today - we'll say it tomorrow - we'll say it next week and next month and next year and ten years from now.

Whenever you meet the real Jesus, He says things like: 'Do you want to follow Me?'  He doesn't say: 'Go tell the guy onstage what you need to hear 52 weekends in a row.'  No, He says:  'You want to follow Me?  Then die to you.  Die every day.  Come after Me with all you have and you'll start seeing things differently.  You'll see the fields are white for harvesting.'  

Time is short.  That's your mission now.  Love God ... love people ... reach your world ... stop thinking about you.

And don't be offended.

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


The day finally arrived.  Our team had been planning for months -- CONVOY OF HOPE in Kenosha at Brass Elementary School.

More than 4,000 folks came to receive shoes, groceries, medical attention, haircuts, job opportunities, games, Christian music, lunch and prayer.  The amazing volunteer crew - 1,200 at last count - from more than a dozen churches in cooperation did a stellar job manning all the posts.

We love our city.

Our drive and goal is to make it a better city.

We ask ourselves: 'Would anybody in Kenosha miss us if our influence was removed from our city?'

I pray they would.

Last night's CONVOY OF HOPE rally

Thanks to the leadership and volunteer crew for today's CONVOY OF HOPE outreach.

And be blessed.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Check out the CBS 58 EYE TO EYE program for the taping Pastor Bob Griffith and I did about CONVOY OF HOPE.

Convoy of Hope is coming to Kenosha at Brass Elementary School grounds this Saturday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.  We will serve food, give away shoes, do hair cuts and medical check-ups, pray with people and provide ministry.

Our part of the program is the first seven minutes.  Enjoy.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


There's a guy with a tractor.  He can drive it out to the field and pretty much take his hands off the wheel and the tractor will guide itself.  Know why?  Because of the ruts it's made over time.  He doesn't even have to steer much if he doesn't want to.

Likewise, the ruts of your mental life will take you to the same places they've always taken you.  Every time.

You have to grab the wheel ...

If you want to be the man or woman God has called you to be, you have to grab the wheel and with a little exertion - not even a lot - turn it in God's direction so you get out of the rut and get to a new place.

And if you do that, where you'll end up is with a transformed and a renewed mind.

Isn't that what you really want deep down?

And be blessed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


What you focus on is what you become.  I don't think that's rocket science and yet, most of us live life seemingly unaware of the fact.

Do you know who does this really well?  Dogs.  Dogs know how to focus.

Here's how a dog responds to life (not original with me):

8 am  - Dog food!  My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride!  My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park!  My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted!  My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Milk bones!  My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard!  My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Dinner!  My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Watched TV with the people!  My favorite thing!
10:30 pm - Sleeping at the foot of the bed!  My favorite thing!

What you focus on is what you become.

Now ... a cat's focus (not original with me):

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.  They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed some sort of dry hash.  The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.  In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

So come on.  Which would you rather be - and I don't mean a dog or a cat?

If you focus your mind on good things, your life will be . . . . . . . . good.
If you focus your mind on bad things, your life will be . . . . . . . . . bad.


And be blessed.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Each of us needs two life bins - a garbage bin and a re-cycling bin.

Everybody has a garbage can, whether you live in a 60-room mansion or a one room apartment.  My garbage man comes every Thursday.  I love Thursdays.  I love watching him come haul it away.  I don't know where he takes it - I don't really care - all I know is he gets rid of it for me.  I'm depressed for seven days if I miss Thursday's pickup.

Most of us have a recycling bin too.  But the stuff you put in there comes back.  You put in a bottle and it comes back as a skateboard.

One gets hauled away and incinerated.  You're rid of it forever.  The other gets re-made, restored, renewed.  Change is only possible if you get the right stuff in the right bin - because there's certain stuff you need hauled away - forgiven - forgotten - forever.  And there are other things you need to turn over to God so He can re-make them - renew them - restore them - redeem them.

So first, you have to take out the trash.  I'm talking about giving your stinky, smelly junk to Christ so He can haul it away.  And that isn't just a one time thing.  You don't take your garbage out to the curb just once.  It's ongoing.

Some of that junk is things from our past - things we regret.
You committed a crime.
You were intimate with someone who wasn't your spouse.
You were harsh with your children.
You were distant from your parents.
The regrets and mistakes haven't mounted.
You drank too heavily - you had a failed marriage - a DUI - a serious financial mistake - you cheated - you abused someone.  Maybe it was big, maybe it was small - but we all have garbage.

'Jesus went to the cross and said ... "I'll tell you who you are."'

Because those become not just things we did - they become anchored to our identity.  The enemy comes and says: 'It isn't just that you did that.  You're a pervert.  You're a scumbag.  You're worthless.  You're damaged goods.  You're filthy.  You're a wreck.  You're disgusting.'

But Jesus went to the cross and said:  "I beg to differ.  I'll tell you who you are.  You're a precious, chosen, forgiven, marked child of God -- I'll haul your garbage away forever and you can be free and clear and forgiven if you'll put your trust in Me."

You just have to put the right stuff in the right bin.

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


It was a great day yesterday at the Journey Open -- about 70 golfers enjoying a beautiful day on the course -- followed by a great meal, prizes and awards.  All proceeds went to Journey Missions.

Thanks for participating, guys and ladies - and thanks for your heart for the world.

And be blessed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I remember the evening one of our daughters called us from a friend's house.

She was at a sleepover and they were getting ready to watch a movie she was pretty sure our rules didn't allow her to watch.  I won't tell you the whole story, but she handled herself in a pretty cool way that night.  I was very  proud of her.

But what happens when your child comes home saying her best friend's parents aren't Christians because they watch (insert your favorite evil show)?  The last thing we want is to help our kids become mini-Pharisees.

What if we helped them learn early on to first be concerned about their own sin before they look for it others?  That wouldn't be a bad exercise for grown-up-Pharisees-in-training.  Not every choice is as clear in Scripture as all of us think.  Every family works out their salvation with fear and trembling.

I know there's great tension in this, but as one person said: We need to determine between the Gospel that saves and the wisdom of wise choices.

If we aren't careful we can end up raising white-washed, bubble-wrapped children who don't have a heart for those who are working it out differently than our families have worked it out.  Did I already say there is great tension in this?  Yes.

Jesus' heart was overflowing with love for the world.  Of all the things you can say about your children, isn't that one of them in the end?  That they are humbled by their own need for the Gospel and overcome with compassion, grace and love for everybody else?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The best news I've heard all day today is, "We get to pursue God's character."

We get to.

When you signed up for this Jesus deal, it wasn't just because you wanted to escape hell, was it?  I hope not.  It was because you wanted the truly better life God offered, and you said: 'I want God.  I get God.  So I repent and I turn from all these other things because they're jack compared to the life I can live as a follower of Christ.'

I know that's what happened to you.  So you get to change.

Or are you thinking to yourself:  'Oh.  Really?  I have to change?'
I have to stop drinking?
I have to stop going there?
I have to forgive her?
I have to stop watching that?
I have to look at different websites now?

'The truth is, you get to change.'

I HAVE TO?  Because I'm fairly sure God will let me into heaven even if I leave my husband?  I mean, grace and love and no condemnation and all that stuff, right?
Even if I have no intention of giving up this addiction, right?
Even If I keep right on with these old lifestyle habits, right?
I still get in, right? 

You're actually hoping you can keep a lot of those things and still get heaven?  Is that your position?'

Because the way I understand the Holy Spirit coming in to us is that when He does, we get a new Master - we get a new heart that actually desires to be holy - we get a new nature - new motivations - a new mind - new behaviors.  Everything becomes new.

That's my understanding of the Scriptures.  That doesn't mean we don't occasionally veer off course and don't still have temptations.  We're going to be fighting some of that until Jesus comes.  But we have new desires that actually want to live righteously.  So when you blow it now, you go: 'Arrggh!  I didn't want to be that person right then,' - not: 'Eh!  It's OK.  Not really a problem.'

But you don't have to change if you don't want to.  The truth is, you get to change.

And be blessed.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Journey Church, Kenosha Campus, baptized 70 people yesterday at Lake Andrea.

So great to see people walking toward Jesus and taking steps of obedience.

And be blessed.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I broke down and got a GPS several years ago.  It was right before all the i- and smart-phones came out with navigation apps, putting the stand alone GPS out of business for all practical purposes.

But remember the first time you got yours and used it?  It was a novelty.  You put random places in it - like Ecuador - and then you followed the ladies voice where ever she said to go, just for fun.

You entered your home address and then went the wrong direction on purpose, just to see if you could fool the girl living inside the GPS.

You even gave your GPS a name, didn't you?  And it was a girl's name, wasn't it?  Don't lie.

Well, I did those things, even if you didn't.  Don't judge me.

But here's what was really great about the GPS -- whenever you made a wrong turn, it didn't get mad at you.  The voice never said, 'Dummy, why didn't you listen to me?  I told you to turn left and you turned right instead.  What's wrong with you?'  

Nope.  Instead it calmly said . . . . . . 'Recalculating.'

And that voice was so reassuring and kind it made you want to say back: 'I'm really sorry.  I apologize that I made a mistake and went the wrong way.  Will you please forgive me?'

You didn't want to let her down.  Because her entire mission in life was to get you where you needed to go and no matter how many times you made a wrong turn, she was this even-keeled voice of reassurance in your ear: 'Just trust me.  I'll get you there.  I have a satellite's viewpoint of where you're headed.  It might take a little longer than I planned now, but we'll make it together.  Stay connected to me.'

'We've all taken wrong turns in life.  All of us have.'

We've all taken wrong turns in life.  All of us have.  And maybe today could be one of those life moments where you hear the Holy Spirit lovingly saying to you:  'Recalculating.  It might take a little longer than I originally planned, but just trust Me.  I've got this.  Stay connected to Me and I'll get you there.'

Because as soon as we disconnect from God, life grows dark.  It's only as we stay plugged in to Him that we gain any light to see where we're headed.  You are your own worst navigator.  God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are your best navigators, but you have to stay plugged in to them.  You have to listen to them and follow them.

So if you've headed in wrong directions - or you're headed in one now - or you're planning to head in one -- know that there is a loving God who isn't here to just yell at you.  He's a God who loves you and He's a Master at recalculating lives and getting them back on course.

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


This video was sent to me by a friend.  Go ahead and watch it ...

Striking, isn't it?

Most of the time you have to go thru a whole system of hooking, baiting, casting, waiting, reeling and netting before you make a catch.  It isn't all that common that the fish jump right into your boat.

On the other hand . . .

For every one of us on a boat of some kind - safe - secure - satisfied - there are ten people drifting - lost - unfulfilled - separated from God.  They're all people Jesus misses and they're around us every day, so much that I'm afraid we may have forgotten all about them.  But we mustn't.

You are destined to be on mission from God - a life preserver - a net - a boat - for a world that is drowning right within your reach.  You don't even have to extend your hand all that far in order to touch them.  If they were any closer, they'd be jumping right into your boat with you.

There is someone in your sphere of influence - someone in your circle of friends - someone who works next to you - someone on your block --- who desperately needs Christ.  They're so close you're practically stumbling right over them to get where you need to go every day.

I challenge you with this:  Even the most Christ-like believer on the planet will be completely ineffective unless he/she gets near fish who are far from God.  It's as simple as that.  They're jumping up out of the water and we pay almost no attention to them.  They're begging to be noticed.

As faith changes you, it changes the infrastructures where you work - where you live - where you play - wherever you operate in life.  If that happens in enough infrastructures, the possibilities for transforming entire neighborhoods, workplaces, communities, families, societies, nations even - are limitless.

Pull back on the engine.
Drive a little slower.
Watch the fish jumping.
Make your boat welcoming.
Reach out your hand ... and they will come.

And be blessed.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Remember when you were learning to swim?

I'm sure some of you just plunged headlong right into the deep end from the time you were 10 months old, but for the rest of us . . .

We stood by the pool's edge for the longest time, debating whether it was safe to jump in.  Even though Mom (or Dad) was right in the water holding out their hands to us:

'Come on.  You can do it.  I'm going to catch you.'

"Come on!  You can do it.  I'm going to catch you."
"NO, Mommy (or Daddy)!  What if I go under?"
"I won't let you.  I promise.  Trust me."

And after minutes (hours) of that dance, you finally summoned the last ounce of courage and ... JUMPED!  You found your Mom's (or Dad's) hands and you grabbed on for dear life.  Then you started laughing and kicking and playing while they were holding on to you as if this was your plan from the beginning.

That was when you learned the secret of weightlessness - trusting in a person first - then trusting that because of the person, the rest of it would all work out.

Know what I mean?

And be blessed.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Here's the truth:  If you come over here and start walking this way, you'll end up over here.  (Nod your head right now if you already knew that.)

[Are you actually nodding?]

OK.  This is where it starts getting tricky:  If you turn and walk THAT way, you'll end up over THERE.  (How many are confused right now?  Nobody.)

'the direction you choose will impact your outcome'

The direction you choose will impact your outcome.  You can't walk this way step by step, day after day, month after month, year after year, and expect to end up over there.

Because if all your life you walked this way financially - you'd end up over here financially.  If all your life you walked that way relationally - you'd up over there relationally.  If all your life you walked this way spiritually - you'd end up over here spiritually.

You have six months left to this year.  If you're going to be the person God wants you to truly be, you might want to turn in the direction that will lead you toward that outcome.  What do you really want to be by the end of 2013?  That should determine the direction you set your face, set your heart, set your feet, set your time, set your enterprises.

Because if you spend every day walking away from Him -- 'I want nothing to do with His life - His work - His ways - His Word - His character --- Leave me alone; I'll do my own thing' -- if you do that, don't expect to end up over here.

Doesn't that just make sense?

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


That's Susan Boyle.  Remember her?  She was the surprise singer on 'Britain's Got Talent,' the U.K.'s version of 'American Idol.'  She became a household name after that appearance on TV.  Within five weeks she had a best-selling album.

What I love most about that isn't that she found fame, but that in some way or another she found herself.  Prior to this, she was living in a little English village singing to her cat.  Talk about wasting your gift - a cat?  Really?

But here she is - connecting fully in her element.  And don't we all long for that - to find our sweet spot?  When she's asked later how she felt about it all, it was almost as if she didn't know what was inside her own self.  But there it was, itching to get out.

I think everybody feels that way at times - like there's something in you that isn't being fully tapped.  There's an adventure out there but you're in your living room singing to your cat instead.  There's a version of you that God intends for you, but you're not really living it.

That version of me is kind of fuzzy at times.  I get glimpses of it every now and again.  Somebody wrongs me and instead of lashing back, I bite my tongue - and God is so pleased with that.  And I go, 'Woah!  That's the me I'd like to be every day.  Why can't I be that person 24/7 because I was flat-out awesome just then?'

You pass somebody who looks like they may be living on the street and you buy them a cool drink and you think, 'That's the me I'd like to be all the time - someone with great compassion for others.'

One day you do a good deed anonymously in a way that's purely sacrificial - but other days you're just Selfish Sammy.

There are glimpses here and there of God, but here's the truth:  That's the you God sees all the time.

And be blessed.

Friday, July 5, 2013


 'It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.'
     ----- George Washington, 1st President of the United States

'Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior?  Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth?  That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?'
     ----- John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States

'We are a Christian people ... not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive benefits ... but from choice and education; and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected ... but that we shall pay due regard to Christianity?'
     ----- Senate Judiciary Committee, 1853

'An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us ... we shall not fight our battles alone.  There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.'
     ----- Patrick Henry, Patriot and Statesman

'The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men.  If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?  We've been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.  I firmly believe this ... '
     ----- Benjamin Franklin, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution

'The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the Word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next.  Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.'
     ----- John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court

'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.'
     ----- Psalm 33:12a

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


There's a great illustration from one of M. Lucado's books about loving, forgiving and judging:

Judging others is the quick and easy way to feel good about ourselves.  Standing next to all the Mussolinis and Hitlers of the world, we boast: 'Look God, compared to them, I'm not so bad.'

But that isn't the problem.  God doesn't compare us to them.  They aren't the standard; God is.  Suppose God simplified matters and reduced the Bible to one command: 'You must jump so high in the air that you touch the moon.'  No need to love your neighbor or pray or follow Jesus; just jump and touch the moon and you'll be saved.

We'd never make it.  There may be some who jump three or four feet; a few who jump five or six feet, but compared to the distance we have to go, no one gets very far.  Though you may jump six inches higher than I do, it's scarcely reason to boast.

'Jesus calls us to another way, one that depends not on our performance but on His.'

Now, God hasn't called us to touch the moon, but He may as well have.  He said, 'You must be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.'  None of us can meet that standard.  As a result, none of us deserves to don the robe and stand behind the bench and judge others.

The thought is almost comical.  We who jump three feet look at the guy who jumps one inch and say, 'What a lousy jump.'  Why do we engage in such accusation?  As long as I'm focused on your weaknesses, I don't have to think of my own.  As long as I'm looking at your puny jump, I don't have to be honest about my own.  I'm like the man who went to the psychiatrist with a turtle on his head and a strip of bacon dangling from his ear and said, 'I'm here to talk to you about my brother.'

The world runs by ungrace.  Everything depends on what I do - what I say - how I say it - what I don't do - what I don't say - how I don't say it.  But Jesus calls us to another way, one that depends not on our performance but on His.  He's already earned for us the costly gift of God's acceptance.

Forgive freely.
Accept graciously.
Love unconditionally.

And be blessed. 

Monday, July 1, 2013


Someone said: 'Living is like dancing.'  People unintentionally bump into each other and step on each other's toes every day.

I could probably fill the rest of the year's blog with a daily report of folks that have been hurt by me unintentionally.  I could fill the following year with a daily report of folks who've hurt me unintentionally.  It happens.

The list of people I've hurt intentionally is far
shorter - quite short, actually.  Usually it was for some real or perceived offense they had committed against me.  On those rare times when I've been intentional about that, I always thought it would feel good.  And maybe it did - momentarily.  But after a short while, it felt raunchy - terrible - indefensible - the stuff of wide-awake nights.

'People unintentionally bump into each other and step on each other's toes every day.'

In the words of others:
'Goodness is the only investment that never fails.'  --- Thoreau

'It takes less time to do a thing right than it does to explain why you did it wrong.'  --- Longfellow

'There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.'  --- French Proverb

'Don't try to be different.  Just be good.  To be good is different enough.'  --- Freed

'You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle.  Are they not in Your book?'  --- David

And be blessed.